In a candid, hard-hitting book that will provoke both anger and thoughtful consideration, two young Republicans have written the first thorough study of the real problems that face the party. A lively, inside account of the GOP’s warring factions and contesting personalities, The Party That Lost Its Head also advances a comprehensive program for its revival.
George F. Gilder and Bruce K. Chapman have a strong commitment to the Republican Party, bu they believe the party is best served in time of crisis, not by passive loyalty, which would permit future catastrophes, but by vigorous and constrictive criticism. The authors trace the gradual Republican breakdown to the illusion s and oversights of the Eisenhower years, and sho how “The Rampant Right,” although a minority, drove Goldwater to the nomination over the limp body of moderate Republicanism. They point out that the trends which led to the Goldwater nomination were merely interrupted, not arrested, by the 1964 election. They conclude with a severe but hopeful critique of the Republican paralysis of today.
As progressive Republicans, the authors believe that the party’s prime need is an ideological identity distinct from the Democrats’ and responsive to the other real needs of the country. They show that the nation’s apparent acceptance of an “obsolescent” Democratic ideology is largely the result of the Republican failure to present sound and relevant alternatives. Recognizing that the Republican Party is the Conservative party in the United States, they set down a program which is aimed largely at current Republican weaknesses — among youth, the intellectuals, and the urban voters — but which also is faithful to Republican traditions and in the nation’s interest. In addition Gilder and Chapman point the way, in ideology, organization, and political strategy, for a moderate Republican to gain the party’s Presidential nomination in 1968.